Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)

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Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) is a provincial program that provides income assistance and health-related coverage to Ontarians with disabilities. It also offers employment assistance to help disabled individuals procure and maintain jobs to meet their own financial needs in the future.

This article will cover the entire ODSP benefit, including how to determine eligibility, how to apply, and how much you can obtain through ODSP payments.


ODSP Payment Schedule

ODSP payments are made on the last business day of each month, but December's payments are usually sent out pre-Christmas. The table below details the ODSP payment dates for this year.

2022 Schedule
January 31 February 28 March 31 April 29
May 31 June 30 July 29 August 31
September 29 October 31 November 30 December  TBD

What is Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)?

ODSP refers to a social support program operated under the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS). It’s intended to meet the unique income, health, and employment challenges disabled Ontarians tend to face.

This financial assistance helps those with eligible disabilities live their lives as independently as possible. During 2018-2019, more than 510,000 individuals received ODSP benefits. If you're receiving ODSP payments, that is considered income and can help qualify for ODSP loans.

ODSP Eligibility

Here’s a quick overview of the ODSP eligibility requirements.

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Be an Ontario resident
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Meet the ODSP Act’s definition of a person with a disability, or be a Prescribed Class member

Minors can apply up to 6 months in advance from their 18th birthday.

Proving Financial Need - You are considered to be in need of financial assistance if your basic living expenses exceed your household’s income and assets.

When applying for ODSP income support, your caseworker will inquire for the following information to determine your total assets and income:

  • Housing and shelter-related expenses
  • Total income coming into your household and the total value of assets belongings you each household member

Your caseworker is the one that will validate your need for financial assistance. They will ask for your consent to contact third parties to gather more information about your situation to determine your eligibility for this benefit.

Note that Ontario Works (OW) clients already have their need for financial assistance established. If you’re an OW benefit recipient, consult with your caseworker to apply to OSPD.

Proving disability - ODSP Act’s definition of a person with a disability is as follows:

  • You have a significant mental or physical impairment that is chronic or recurrent and is expected to last one year or more, and
  • The impairment is restricting your ability to work, care for yourself and function in the community, and
  • The duration of the impairment and the restrictions it’s causing in your daily life has been verified by a licensed healthcare professional.

The caseworker will give you and your healthcare provider(s) a Disability Determination Package. Once it’s filled out and submitted, the MCCSS staff will review the application to determine whether you meet the program’s definition of a person with a disability.

ODSP Application Process

You can apply for ODSP benefits by calling or visiting your local ODSP office.

You can also start your application online but know that you’ll have to visit your local office still to complete the application. A caseworker will reach out to schedule an in-person meeting within five days.

You will be required to bring in documents to help the caseworker verify the following information:

Personal information:

Bring documents such as birth certificate, immigration papers, passport, Canadian citizenship card, or permanent resident card.

Cumulative household income:

Tax return and pay stubs for all family members in your household at least 18 years or older. Also, include statements from pension programs such as CPP, WSIB Benefits, employment income, profits from a business, spousal support, sponsorship payment, OAS benefits, loans, and more.

Exempted income sources include Canada Child Benefit, Ontario Child Benefit, RDSP payments, OSAP loans for education, and child support.

Cumulative household assets:

Assets may consist of you and your family member’s cash in bank accounts, stocks and bonds, RRSP payments, jewellers, trust funds, and vehicles (excluding primary vehicles).

The house you own or live in, your primary vehicle, pre-paid funerals, RESP payments, RDSP payments, personal items like furniture and clothes, and trust funds from an inheritance or life insurance policy will not count towards household assets.

Housing-related costs:

These include rent, utility, heating bills, mortgage agreement, property tax statements, and home insurance statements.

Meeting with your caseworker

During the meeting with your caseworker, you will be required to sign the following forms:

  • Application for Assistance
  • Rights and Responsibilities
  • Consent to Disclose and Verify Information
  • Consent to Disclose and Verify Personal Information

You may be required to sign additional information depending on your circumstances.

The last two forms mentioned on the list above authorize decision-makers to collect information about you from other programs and government agencies to determine your eligibility to receive ODSP benefits.

Decision notification

You’ll know whether or not you’re financially eligible for ODSP income support within 15 days of your meeting with the caseworker.

If you’re not found to be financially eligible, you can request an internal review within 30 days of receiving the decision.

If they find you financially eligible, you will receive a Disability Determination Package. This package has two parts:

  • Health Status Report: It aims to obtain information about your impairments, their expected duration and resulting restrictions.
  • Activities of Daily Life Index: Its purpose is to obtain information about how your impairment and restriction will impact how you care for yourself, your work and your community life.

Medical professionals authorized to complete both parts of the Disability Determination Package include physicians, registered nurses, psychologists, optometrists, and ophthalmologists.

Medical professionals who are only authorized to complete the Activities of Daily Life Index are audiologists, chiropractors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, and social workers.

Once all the Disability Determination Package forms are complete, send them to the ODSP Disability Adjudication Unit.

There, specialized staff called Adjudicators will review the contents of the package and determine whether or not you meet the program’s definition of a person with a disability.

This process can take time if your application is complex. Only 25 percent of the applications get reviewed within ten days. The rest take up to 90 business days.

ODSP Benefits

Those eligible for ODSP can receive income support and employment support.

Income support

If you rent or own your home, you will receive a monthly payment that covers:

  • Basic needs: example; food, clothing, and other personal items.
  • Shelter allowance: example; rent or mortgage payment, utilities, home insurance, and property taxes.

Basic Needs

The amount you receive will differ based on the number of family members and their ages and whether your spouse or partner also is disabled.

  • Without any dependents, you can receive $672 per month if you're single.
  • If you have a spouse but no other dependent, you can receive $969 per month.
  • If you have a spouse or partner who is disabled but no other dependents, you can receive $1341 per month.

A table shows ODSP income support rates for basic needs-related expenses:

Number of dependants other than a spouse Dependants 18 years or older Dependants 0-17 years Recipient (1) Recipient and Spouse (2) Recipient and Spouse (3)
0 0 0 672 969 1341
1 0 1 815 969 1341
1 1 0 1041 1157 1529
2 0 2 815 969 1341
2 1 1 1041 1157 1529
2 2 0 1230 1367 1739

Note 1. A recipient if there is no spouse included in the benefit unit.

Note 2. A recipient with a spouse included in the benefit unit if Note 3 does not apply.

Note 3. A recipient with a spouse included in the benefit unit if each of the recipient and the spouse is a person with a disability.

Each additional dependent receives $211 if they’re 18 years of age or older and $0 if 17 years of age or younger.

  • If you reside in Northern Ontario, you will receive Remote Communities Allowance. This refers to additional funds for those north of the 50th parallel who don’t have year-round road access.

Remote Communities Allowance

Dependants other than spouse Recipient Recipient and Spouse
0 272 431
1 430 530
2 526 628

Each additional dependent will get $102.

Shelter Allowance

This portion of your monthly ODSP benefit will cover utilities, heat, water, sewage, rent/mortgage, property taxes, garbage disposal, laundry facilities and more.

How much shelter allowance you are entitled to receive depending on your family size:

Benefit Unit Size Maximum Monthly Shelter Allowance
1 497
2 781
3 846
4 918
5 991
6 or more 1026

You may also receive an amount for a second residence if you or your spouse is temporarily required to participate in a training program to improve your employment prospects. You can receive up to $455 for this temporary accommodation.


Health-related benefits

If you’re eligible to receive ODSP’s income support, you may also qualify for its myriad of health benefits such as

  • Prescription drug coverage: Applicable to drugs listed in the Ontario Drug Benefit Formulary and prescribed by an approved medical professional.
  • Dental coverage: If you have children under 17, they will be automatically enrolled in Healthy Smiles Ontario. You and your spouse will get coverage for essential dental services and additional services if your disability or prescribed treatment/medications impact your oral health.
  • Vision care: Covers vision care costs pertaining to routine eye exams, prescription eyeglasses, and eyeglass repairs for you and your family.
  • Medical supplies: Coverage for diabetic supplies and surgical supplies.
  • Medical transportation: Coverage for travelling costs to and from a medical appointment (if it exceeds $15).
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding nutritional allowance: Provides you or a family member that’s pregnant or breastfeeding with $40 per month to help with the cost of a regular diet or $50 per month to cover the cost of a non-dairy diet if you’re lactose intolerant.
  • Extended health benefit: This program covers those who are ineligible for ODSP’s income support due to high income but still have health-related expenses
  • Transitional health benefit: If you’re leaving the ODSP program to begin working part-time or full-time, you can still receive coverage for prescription drugs, dental and vision care.

Employment benefits

MCCSS understands that those with disabilities would like to work and reach their financial goals. This is why they provide an array of work-related benefits to aid disabled individuals and their eligible family members to earn money from a job, join a training program, or even start a business.

You can obtain support for the following:

  • Preparing for work
  • Securing a job that matches your skillset
  • Keeping a job
  • Job coaching
  • On-the-job help
  • Help with advancing your career
  • Adaptive technology training
  • Job accommodations
  • Access to assisted devices and training for how to use them

If you want to start your own business, you can get help with:

  • Developing and executing a business plan
  • Budgeting and money management training
  • Marketing training
  • Mentoring

Eligible family members include your spouse or children who are 18 years of age or older and are not a full-time student.

You and eligible family members may receive $500 in 12 months to cover work-related costs such as clothing, uniforms, licensing fees, work boots, tools and special equipment, and transportation.

Applying for Employment Support

You do not have to meet the financial eligibility requirement to obtain employment support. To procure work-related assistance, download and fill out “Application for Employment Supports.”

Then, an approved healthcare professional will need to complete a Verification of Disability/Impairment. This isn’t necessary if you’re already receiving Income Support payments.

You will then have to give your consent to release medical information. This is important so that the MSSCC office can gather your medical information from your healthcare providers and verify your disability.

Can You Work and Still Get ODSP?

Yes, you can work and still be eligible to receive ODSP. MCCSS encourages its ODSP recipients to work to make the most of the financial help they’re receiving through the benefit payment.

Those who work while on ODSP are much better off financially than those who live on the benefits alone.

Adult in your family can earn up to $200 each month while still receiving the same ODSP payment. For every dollar you make above $200, your benefit will only reduce by 50 cents.

You can preserve more of your benefit if you’re a working parent that needs to pay for child care or if you need specialized equipment due to your disability to do your job.

If you’re currently a full-time student that’s working part-time, then your income, regardless of the amount, won’t affect the ODSP benefit amount at all.

How to receive ODSP payments?

MCSS provides payments via Cheque, direct deposits and reloadable payment cards. Direct deposit is the safest and easiest way to receive your ODSP payment directly into your bank account.

Reloadable cards are a perfect alternative to those who do not have a bank account. This way, you do not have to worry about travelling to the bank to cash or deposit your cheque.